AFP Photo
AFP Photo

Mumbai: Once again rising to the occasion, Jos Buttler pummelled the Mumbai Indians bowling attack to guide Rajasthan Royals to a crucial four-wicket win against Mumbai Indians, here on Saturday.  The 28-year-old Englishman, who in recent games had failed to convert good starts, announced his return to form with belligerent 89 as Rajasthan chased down the target at Wankhede Stadium with three balls to spare.

Rajasthan were chasing a competitive 187 for only their second win of the tournament. And with required run-rate over nine from the start, Buttler and skipper Ajinkya Rahane stitched a 60-run partnership for the opening wicket in good time. Rahane was caught by Suryakumar Yadav at mid-wicket off Krunal Pandya’s bowling after a fluent 37 in 21 balls but that didn’t prevent Buttler from going berserk.

Buttler struck eight boundaries and seven sixes in his 43-ball knock and took apart Alzarri Joseph by hitting him for 28 runs in the 13th over. The much-talked-about West Indian leaked 53 in his three overs as Mumbai Indians sourly missed the services of veteran Lasith Malinga.

Buttler added 87 runs for the second wicket with Sanju Samson before Rahul Chahar gave Mumbai the much-needed breakthrough, getting rid off the dangerous Buttler in the 14th over. While trying to up the ante, Buttler holed out to Suryakumar Yadav at long-off. Royals were motoring along at this stage with 147-2 in 13.2 overs.

IPL 2019: Buttler cooks Royals’ victory

However, Krunal Pandya (4-0-34-3) and Jasprit Bumrah (4-0-23-2) rocked the sloppy Rajasthan middle-order as from 147/2, the visitors fumbled to 174/6 losing Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Steve Smith and Liam Livingstone in quick succession to hand Mumbai an initiative. The young Shreyas Gopal (13 not out) then showed some nerves to take Rajasthan over the line. With Ben Stokes injured and rested for the match, it was important for the lower-order to perform and Gopal and Krishnappa Gowtham ensured that Rajasthan crossed the line.

Earlier, Quinton de Kock hit a calculated 81 as he powered Mumbai Indians to 187 for 5. Opening the batting, Quinton de Kock hammered six fours and four sixes in his 52-ball knock with able support from Rohit Sharma (47 off 32 balls), who made a comeback after missing out the last Mumbai game due to leg injury.

Put into bat, Mumbai Indians looked set to sail past 200 with openers putting on a 96-run stand but tight middle overs by Shreyas Gopal (4-0-21-0) and Jaydev Unadkat (4-0-36-1) saw Mumbai Indians struggling for runs on a true Wankhede pitch.
A late cameo by Hardik Pandya (28 off 11 balls) propelled Mumbai Indians to 187 but that wasn’t enough to end Rohit Sharma’s 100th match as a captain on a happy note.

Mumbai Indians
R Sharma c J Buttler b J Archer …..47
Q de Kock c J Buttler b J Archer ….81
S Yadav b D Kulkarni ………………….16
K Pollard c S Gopal b J Archer …….06
H Pandya not out ……………………….28
I Kishan c J Buttler b Unadkat ……..05
K Pandya not out ……………………….00
Extras: (b-1, w-3) ……………………….04
Total: (for 5 wkts) ……………………..187
FoW: 96-1, 117-2, 136-3, 163-4, 175-5
Bowler: Krishnappa Gowtham 3-0-39-0, Dhawal Kulkarni 4-0-38-1, Jofra Archer 4-0-39-3, Jaydev Unadkat 4-0-36-1, Shreyas Gopal 4-0-21-0, Liam Livingstone 1-0-13-0.

Rajasthan Royals
A Rahane c S Yadav b K Pandya …37
J Buttler c S Yadav b R Chahar …..89
S Samson lbw b Bumrah …………….31
S Smith c I Kishan b Bumrah ………12
R Tripathi c H Pandya b K Pandya .01
L Livingstone b K Pandya ……………01
S Gopal not out …………………………13
K Gowtham not out ……………………00
Extras (lb-2, w-2) ………………………04
Total: (for 6 wkts) …………………….188
FoW: 60-1, 147-2, 170-3, 171-4, 174-5, 174-6.
Bowling:Jason Behrendorff 3-0-31-0, Alzarri Joseph 3-0-53-0, Rahul Chahar 4-0-34-1, Jasprit Bumrah 4-0-23-2, Krunal Pandya 4-0-34-3, Hardik Pandya 1.3-0-11-0.

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